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Herbal Stimulants for ADHD

By Jill Andrews ; Updated August 14, 2017

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is characterized by hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity. It commonly affects children and can continue into adulthood. Symptoms include short attention span, difficulty with organization, forgetfulness, fidgeting, difficulty being quiet and interrupting others. Common medications used to treat ADHD are stimulants, which can have a calming effect on people with ADHD. Some herbal supplements may also be helpful in treating ADHD. Always consult your doctor before taking herbs and never replace other forms of treatment with herbs.

Ginkgo Bilboa

Ginkgo bilboa may be helpful in treating symptoms of ADHD. This herb increases circulation to the brain and aids in nerve protection. In addition, ginkgo may enhance both mental sharpness and memory in those with ADHD, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). Consult your doctor about whether this supplement might benefit you. MedlinePlus advises that you start at a dose of not greater than 120 mg per day in order to prevent gastrointestinal discomfort.

American Ginseng

American ginseng can help enhance your body's ability to manage stress. This herb can specifically increase mental and physical abilities in a person experiencing stress. Research suggests that American ginseng taken in combination with ginkgo bilboa may provide benefits to people with ADHD, according to the American Botanical Council. Talk to your doctor about whether this herb or a combination of this herb with others can benefit you.


Pycnogenol comes from the bark of a pine tree called Pinus pinaster. This herb has been used to treat circulation problems, asthma, allergies, high blood pressure, pain, and attention deficit-hyperactivity. Research is inconclusive and has not shown a clear benefit. Talk to your doctor before taking this herb.

Calming Herbs

UMMC reports that many other calming herbs have been recommended for ADHD. These include Roman chamomile, valerian, lemon balm and passionflower. Few studies have been done to see whether an improvement in symptoms can be obtained, and more research is required. These herbs may be taken as teas, tinctures or dried extracts. Teas should be made with 1 tsp. of herb per cup of hot water and steeped while covered for 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers. You may need to steep 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Talk to your doctor about specific herbs that might benefit you and an effective and safe dose.

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